Nurturing Your Nonprofit

How to Get Your Message Out

Date:  March 31, 2022

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Location:  Café Wren

Cost: $10

The Northwest Alliance Community Foundation (NACF) is thrilled to announce that Nurturing Your Nonprofit (NYN) is back in person!  This has been a long, Covid hiatus!!!

Our presenter for this NYN on marketing communication is Joan O’Fallon.  You will learn effective communication strategies and tactics to get your messages out and more importantly, how to drive behavior outcomes to help your nonprofit succeed.

  • Learn the four key questions to ask before you begin any communication project.
  • Gain skills to write for your target audience.
  • Review preferred communication channels, including social media, newsletters and news releases.
    See examples of best practices from your nonprofit peers.
  • Leave with Joan’s top 10 writing tips and takeaways.

Joan O’Fallon Bio

Joan O’Fallon has 25 years of experience as a strategic communicator. She’s worked in school PR, health care marketing and is presently director of communications for Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative in her native northwestern Wisconsin. Joan is a member of her co-op's senior leadership team, responsible for sharing her co-op’s story and building trusted relationships with internal and external stakeholders. She says it’s rewarding to work for her local electric co-op and improve the quality of life in her hometown.

Joan is accredited in public relations. She has a bachelor's in mass communication/public relations from the University of South Florida and a master's in strategic communication from the University of Minnesota, where she teaches as an adjunct professor. She is proud to serve on boards for Northwest Passage, Burnett County Development Association and St. Croix Valley Health Care Foundation.

Want to get your message out and motivate your audience to act?  Join us! Contact us at

[email protected]



Past events: Supporting Mental Health in Our Community

October 5th, 2021

The Northwest Alliance Community Foundation and the Mental Health Task Force of Polk County co-sponsored a panel presentation on October 5th, sharing information on how to support people living with mental health issues.  The presentation addressed the needs of different age populations, communication,  listening skills,  reassurance and resources.


Sam Hazen, CSW, Emergency Services Worker Polk Co. Behavioral Health/ Emergency Services
Duana Bremer, Social Service Director, The Salvation Army: Polk, Burnett, St. Croix and Barron Counties.
Ashley Williams, MSW, LCSW, Emergency Services Director/ Call Center Clinical Coordinator Northwest Connections
Alyson Sauter, 211 Community Impact Director United Way St. Croix Valley


More about Nurturing Your Nonprofit...

Nurturing Your Nonprofit (NYN) is NACF’s series of educational workshops offered to nonprofits to help them function more effectively and efficiently.  We organize 2-3 workshops per year addressing issues confronting nonprofit executives, their staffs and volunteers.  Providing low-cost workshops locally saves participants travel time, effort and money.  NACF conducted a recent survey among nonprofits and asked “if NACF had to choose doing one of these things, which would you choose?  Grants or Nurturing Your Nonprofit?”  The majority chose Nurturing Your Nonprofit!

Topics for NYN have included Grant writing, Marketing, Effective Board Leadership and Fundraising among others.  One great example is Nurturing Resilience, which was offered in partnership with the Mental Health Task Force of Polk County and Northwest Passage. The workshop presented information to gain an understanding of resiliency, why it’s important, and tools to aid us in helping those around us to thrive in this chaotic world.  Attendees learned how we can strengthen resiliency in ourselves and others.

One participant commented: You know what’s wicked cool about a progressive understanding of resilience?!  It means that we have control over building/strengthening it in ourselves and in the people who we work with!  It means that it’s not about hoping/praying that we are one of the lucky ones who happen to be resilient.  We can actually work to create a more resilient world and everyone, I mean everyone, has access to the incredible phenomena of being a survivor instead of a victim!!!!!!!”
Angela Fredrickson, Northwest Passage - 2019

Participants from other NYN EVENTS commented:

  • So much appreciated!!
  • Wonderful.  Thank you to everyone who made this possible!
  • Have more like this!
  • Well worth my time.

Watch for upcoming NURTURING YOUR NONPROFIT events.

NACF Completes Housing Study

Northwest Alliance Housing Study
By: Gary Gerds

To better understand the needs of the communities we serve in Polk and Burnett counties, the Northwest Alliance Community Foundation (NACF) recently conducted a study with key local community members who have lived and worked in this area for a number of years.  We asked them to name the most critical local issues they see.  Their responses focused on four challenging areas:
*  Housing:  Helping to find creative financing methods for new builds and upgrading of the existing housing stock; perhaps conducting additional research focused on providing more specific information regarding the need for housing serving residents at multiple income levels and stage of life.
*  Families:  Helping families by working with organizations that focus on providing life skills education, foster care, day care, home maintenance, food, furniture, and other necessities.* *  *  Jobs:  Increasing the availability of trained people having the skills and resources needed to succeed in the existing job market; finding ways to reinforce existing efforts to attract skilled workers to our communities by making it more attractive for employers to either locate or expand in the communities we serve.
*  Transportation:  Assisting organizations that focus on increasing transportation options for residents; assessing methods to provide residents access to food shelves, family skills education, job skills training opportunities, healthcare, and other critical community resources.

Housing is a huge issue for most of the respondents. There is a critical need for housing for multiple income levels including low income, affordable housing, and attractive, appropriate middle-income housing.  There is also a demonstrable need for additional senior citizen housing as currently there are few options for seniors who are contemplating moving out of their family homes.  The availability of additional, attractive, affordable senior citizen housing would make it more likely that seniors will choose to move out of their existing homes, potentially making these homes available to middle-class workers who are in the process of deciding to move into our area.

Lack of appropriate housing affects many parts of the community; employers are understandably reluctant to move into the area or expand when they believe they cannot find employees.  According to Mark Elliot, Executive Director of Northwest Passage, Ltd., “Much of Northwest Passage staff does not come from this area.  Limited middle-income housing is the first issue we face in recruiting.  Additional middle-income housing will enable organizations to ‘widen their net.’  This lack of housing also affects the Webster School District and many other organizations throughout our local communities.  I am glad NACF is helping to shed a brighter light on this important issue.”

Pre-COVID, NACF convened several meetings with local leaders to find effective ways to develop attractive housing alternatives for all income levels within our communities.  NACF plans to continue these efforts as soon as the health environment permits us to go forward.

Gary Gerds is a member of the Northwest Alliance Community Foundation, which is an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation.  For more information, visit

NACF in the News

2022 Nurturing Nature Environmental Series

March 6, 2023

2022 Nurturing Nature Series An ‘environmental series’ of events designed to nurture the passion with each of us…to think and act in support of our natural environment…to promote increased environmental stewardship within the St. Croix Watershed…to take steps to improve the ecosystem we share!  

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Why Am I on the Board?

March 15, 2022

By:  Jennifer Turrentine Nonprofits exist through the hard work of an executive director, a staff, a board, many volunteers and generous donors.  We understand that the director runs day-to-day operations with the help (perhaps) of staff, and we know that the majority of nonprofits in our area would fade away if not for the many…

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Graduation Day

February 17, 2022

NACF NOTES Column, Intercounty Leader, May 26, 2021 Did you know May is Foster Care Awareness Month?  May is traditionally associated with graduations, parties, and well-meant, but usually unsolicited advice on further education and career choices.  Most graduates are supported by family as they take the next steps in their lives – however, many teens…

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NACF Presents $7,000 to Area Schools

December 12, 2020

Fall, 2020 With the ongoing challenges due to COVID-19, the Northwest Alliance Community Foundation (NACF) took a different approach to our Fall Grant cycle. In response to our outreach to the 7 local school districts in our giving area, NACF donated $1,000 to each of these school districts for the purpose of helping teachers and students…

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NACF founder Renee Nanez steps down as board chair

October 21, 2020
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Let’s Work Together to Strengthen Our Community

August 26, 2020

NACF ACTIVITIES DURING COVID Social distancing, no large group events – the COVID guidelines have caused NACF to think outside its usual scope of activities these past months.  Beyond the housekeeping tasks of updating policies and refining procedures – similar to stay-at-home chores of cleaning closets and kitchen cupboards – the board has continued to…

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We All Need Each Other–Help and Be Helped

April 11, 2020

As we are all sheltering in place and being extra careful around other people, don’t you begin to realize just how important and powerful is the concept of community? We all really do need each other in order to survive and thrive. In the effort to help keep each other operational, Northwest Alliance Community Foundation, serving Burnett and…

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